A $50 Twitter Ads Case Study

Earlier this month, Twitter was kind enough to offer $50 credits to what I assume was a bunch of their users. I was fortunate enough to get one of these under my personal account, and I’m definitely not one to pass up free advertising, so I went ahead & signed up for Twitter ads myself.

A large part of my curiosity, besides for the fact that I am starting to run these campaigns for clients, stemmed from a post I did early in February about a Twitter Promoted Account case study that Twitter themselves put out. The results were a little underwhelming, as there was no “post-campaign” analysis, such as follower retention, or even any metrics on those new followers’ visiting the subject’s website, etc.

I began wanting to test just the Promoted Accounts product, to do (sort of) a 1:1 comparison of the Twitter case study. However, I quickly realized the limitations; although Twitter shows you how many followers you receive via Promoted Accounts, it doesn’t tell you their handles. I typically get 5-10 new followers per day anyway (mostly bots, admittedly), so I had no way of separating free new followers from paid ones.

So, after spending $17 on Twitter Promoted Accounts, I switched over to Promoted Tweets. With links to this site included, and UTM parameters attached to the URLs, I could accurately track the number of site visits I received from the product, as well as other key metrics, such as time on site, bounce rate, etc.

The results? Well, see for yourself:

With Promoted Accounts, I was paying over $2 per follower, which personally I find a bit high, and is much higher than Twitter’s results. Granted, I was going after a niche audience (people interested in Marketing in Chicago), so that certainly had an effect on cost. Still, I wasn’t impressed.

The Promoted Tweets, on paper, looks to have performed pretty well. A $.24 CPE is less than you’ll find on Google, for instance, and I was pleased upon seeing that. I also liked that Twitter showed me which of my Tweets did the best, which is below:

“Engagements”, though, are not simply click-thrus to my site. They include retweets, favorites & replies. Fine. But, I noticed a big discrepancy when I looked at Analytics:

Now, granted, I may have gotten some people to see my Promoted Tweet, click through to my profile, and visit this site through the profile header– which isn’t tracked in the same way. If you assume not, though, I paid $30 for 5 total site visits, only one of which Google counted as “New”.


Obviously, $50 isn’t enough to call Twitter ads a success or failure. However, hopefully this will help someone out there see the kind of cost that can be associated with these products before making the commitment. I hope to publish more of these as I manage more Twitter promoted products in the coming months.

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  • I’ve discovered that “clicks” mean anytime someone clicks anywhere on your tweet it counts as a conversion to be billed for, i.e. if they click a hashtag you use, your username, expanding a photo, etc. So just because they don’t go to your website, doesn’t mean you don’t get charged. If you put in Twitter tracking codes onto your pages, you can see conversions as visitors and I’ve seen that those numbers do add up in GA.

    • You are correct; “clicks” doesn’t refer just to website clicks. Since running this test I’ve managed several Twitter campaigns for clients, and using UTM tracking on the links, I’ve found that actual website visit numbers pale in comparison to the “clicks” reported by Twitter.

      Still, I’ve seen some good results using Twitter for numerous objectives– direct response just not being one of those.

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